Editorials

In Miami Gardens, vote for more say in stadium plans; re-elect Mayor Oliver Gilbert

Miami Herald Editorial Board

The Miami Dolphins stadium, the biggest tax payer in Miami Gardens, was recently renamed Hard Rock Stadium.
The Miami Dolphins stadium, the biggest tax payer in Miami Gardens, was recently renamed Hard Rock Stadium. Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins have a new coach and a renovated stadium with a new name.

If Miami Gardens voters approve it, the team also will get a new partner when deciding zoning issues: the city in which the stadium resides.

That’s if voters there on Aug. 30 approve a change in language in the city’s charter.

We think they should grab at the chance to have a say in the future growth of the stadium, Miami Gardens’ biggest taxpayer.

The change would give the city joint control over building rights in and around the just renamed Hard Rock Stadium.

Until now, the stadium has loomed over the city, but residents have had no say in what goes on within the grounds or development just outside.

The charter question’s long path to the ballot came after the Miami-Dade Commission and Miami Gardens City Council separately approved a settlement agreement to a July 2014 lawsuit filed by the city.

Voters are, in essence, approving or rejecting the agreement that will give the two municipal bodies building and zoning control.

To help along in the compromise, the county is giving up its sole control and sharing it with Miami Gardens, but the county retains the right to moderate disputes between Miami Gardens and the Dolphins.

The proposed agreement will transfer 12 county-owned properties to the city at a cost of $10 each. Only some of the properties are close to the stadium.

“It’s a deal we can all live with — including the Dolphins,” Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert told the Miami Herald Editorial Board. The mayor has made reaching this deal a priority in his first four years in office. He should be praised for his hard work to get all parties to the negotiating table.

He does have an ulterior motive — which would benefit the city. The area in question is referred to as the Dolphin Center Development of Regional Impact, encompassing the area surrounding the stadium, on Northwest 199th Street and 27th Avenue, and going toward Florida’s Turnpike.

It’s a launching pad for the mayor’s redevelopment plans for Super Bowl 54.

But the settlement and dismissal of the lawsuit only become official if Miami Gardens voters approve the charter change. They should pass it. It’s a good deal for the residents.

For the Miami Gardens Charter Amendment question, the Herald recommends a YES vote.

MAYORAL RACE

Mr. Gilbert is facing opposition from former City Councilman Ulysses Harvard, an insurance broker, and Clara Johnson, a retired AT&T employee. A third candidate was disqualified.

Bow-tie-wearing Mr. Gilbert, an attorney, was a City Council member before being elected mayor in 2012.

The deal with the Dolphins is the cornerstone of his first term; he has also hired a new police chief whose goal is to bring down sporadic violence in the city.

The mayor is also a cheerleader for the city. But Mr. Gilbert has been accused of, at times, being abrasive, and Mr. Harvard says that there is little “transparency” in the city’s dealings.

If his opponent’s charges have merit, the mayor, indeed, has some work to do. But he has been good for the city and should be re-elected.

For Miami Gardens mayor, the Herald recommends OLIVER GILBERT.

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